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Jun 26, 2017

Northern Regional Hospital set to Operate

The Northern Region Hospital today officially opened its newly renovated operating theatre. For two years, medics were using an interim facility that didn’t allow the team to do the extent of work they were capable of. So today, they announced that they now have two operating suites that will be serving Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. News Five’s Andrea Polanco traveled north today and files this report.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Northern Regional Hospital is now outfitted with a newly renovated operating theatre. For the past two years the Hospital has been using an interim facility that limited its theatre services. This operating theatre serves the entire north of Belize. It has two operating suites, out of which a number of surgeries are carried out.


Marvette McFarlan

Marvette McFarlane, Hospital Administrator, Northern Regional Hospital

“Over the past two years our team has been operating, working out of an interim theatre which was not ideal. And in the interim, you can only deal with one patient at a time and with the new renovated theatre we could do a maximum of two patients at the same time.  We have two operating suites, we have a recovery room, we have pre-op room. We have the area to sterilize equipment and we so we have a full functioning operating theatre and an area for the staff.”


Andrea Polanco

“Talk to us about the different surgeries this operating theatre can accommodate?”


Marvette McFarlane

“We do C-Sections, we do a host of maternal cases and gynecological cases in there. We do general surgeries. We now have on board an orthopedic surgeon so we can also do that. We do have cases that we don’t do here, cardiac and other things like that we don’t do here.”


But even with only an interim operating facility, Northern Regional Hospital still carried out a large number of surgeries, as well as supported visiting surgical teams to northern Belize.


Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services, Ministry of Health

“You can’t shy away from the fact that although you didn’t have ideal working conditions, as I understand it, there were one thousand three hundred and forty surgeries done in the operating room that you had here, that included minor/major surgeries, orthopedic surgeries, gynecological surgeries, planned and emergency surgeries done.  I don’t have all the data for what you have done in 2017, but for the first four months I know there has been a preliminary report of three hundred and sixty-nine surgeries done here at Northern Regional Hospital so that is a huge amount of work that happens on a daily basis.  My task is basically to acknowledge that you are being given something simply that you need; it is not something that you have been wanting. It is simply something that is there for you to facilitate the work that you are expected do with the public.”


The renovations to get this operating theatre up to standard have been two years in the making and valued at almost half a million dollars. Surgeries started in the operating theatre since earlier this month, but there are still works left to be completed.


Gaspar Vega

Gaspar Vega, Area Rep, Orange Walk North

“It is a long awaited and painful wait. I think everyone here can attest to that. I wish it had been celebrated a year ago but resources are always a challenge for Government, even for households.”


Dr. Marvin Manzanero

“As I understand it, the entire ceiling was completely removed; the walls; the flooring; surgical lights are now there that weren’t there; the equipment is there and all the entire structure had to be reinforced with steel. The A/C that is there is a seven ton; a seven, five and two three ton A/C units as a back up to whatever is in there.”


Pablo Marin

Pablo Marin, Minister of Health

“It’s about four hundred thousand we spent on this new renovated two suite operating theatre which is not the final that we will do here. But, yes we will have to give thanks to the doctors and nurses and everyone who used only the interim theatre for those two years.”


Two general surgeons and an orthopedic surgeon make up the staff of this operating theatre; there are plans to add another surgeon to the team, as well as an anesthesiologist. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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